Asylum: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to ensure that all trafficked and unaccompanied children have an independent legal guardian.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

In local authorities where the Independent Child Trafficking Advocate (ICTA) service has been rolled out, all children that are potential victims of trafficking are eligible for support.

The ICTA service was rolled out in three early adopter sites in Greater Manchester, Hampshire and Wales in January 2017 with an additional £2m invested to expand the ICTA provision into West Midlands, East Midlands and Croydon. This will mean the service will be available in one third of all local authorities by April 2019.

Unaccompanied children are looked after by the relevant local authority and are entitled to the same services as any other looked after child. Under these arrangements, unaccompanied children will have a professional social worker and an independent reviewing officer to oversee their care arrangements. All unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in England are referred to the Refugee Council’s Children’s Panel and they are also entitled to legal assistance in pursuing their asylum claim. The Government believes that these arrangements ensure unaccompanied children are provided with the independent support and advice that they need.

Section 48 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which makes provisions for ICTAs, is being considered in the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act led by Frank Field, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Maria Miller. The Government will carefully consider any recommendations for the national rollout of ICTAs which come out of the review.

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